Father Son Pic

I accidentally learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life one regular day when I was fifteen.

My dad had just gotten back from the bank, and was removing the cash he’d withdrawn from an envelope.  As he counted out five one hundred dollar bills, I jokingly snatched one away and took off.  He said, “Boy, you better get back over here with my money.”  I returned, but held out the bill just beyond his reach.  He looked at me and knowingly smirked as he reached out to take it.

Of course, I jerked my hand away.  “Finders keepers,” I told him.  “It’s mine now.”

Dad could have had me in a headlock in two seconds flat, but he indulged me and played my game for a while.  Each time, he reached a little faster and came a little closer to recapturing the bill.  I could tell he was messing with me, and my heart raced as I tried to keep up with him.  After a while, I panicked and turned my back to him – shielding what I’d claimed, protecting it, hiding it away.  And for safe measure, I tightened my grip just a little more.

He laughed and said, “You’re holding on like that’s the last money you’ll ever have.”

“Hey, I don’t know when I’ll have another hundred dollars in my hand.”

Reaching for the bill again, causing me to flinch, he said, “What are you scared of?”

“You’re gonna take it, and I won’t have it anymore!  That’s what I’m scared of!”

Dad stopped the game, and changed his posture.  I could see him thinking, considering something I didn’t see.  He told me to hold out my hand, and I did – palm down.  He turned it over, exposing the edges of the bill spilling out of my clenched fist.

“How do you feel right now?”


“But you’ve got the money… That’s what you wanted – you should be happy.”

“Yeah, but it’s a lot of work to hang on to it.”

“Yep… and you know what else?”

With that, he took the four other bills and placed them on top of my closed hand.  It looked so silly.  Four hundred dollars sitting on top of my fist, as I held just one hundred.  Only a minute before, a hundred dollars seemed like a fortune, but my desperation to keep it blinded me to the possibility of what I could have instead.  I was so busy clinging to the little bit I could get my hands on, the bit I could predict and see and feel proud of… that I let 4 times more fall to the floor, unclaimed.  Mine – but never mine.

My Dad looked me in the eyes and said, “Son, it’s impossible to receive anything with closed hands.”

It’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  Sure, it’s true of money, but I’m talking about more than that.  I’ve found it to be true in all things:

I’ll never get more love by clinging to the people around me.

I’ll never earn more respect by controlling those in my care.

I’ll never expand into new opportunities while building a fort around my territory.

I’ll never live the adventure I was created for while holding onto security.

I’ll never have more without first opening up my hands.

What if there’s more waiting for you?  What if there’s more life than you’re living – more love than you’re receiving – more fulfillment than you’re experiencing?  What if there’s more for you – but you’re so busy protecting the secure and predictable thing you hold in your hands that you don’t even see the something more that’s waiting for you?


If you know someone these words might encourage to release their grip on what they can see, so they can take hold of what they can’t, please SHARE this post.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Anna-Emily

    Such a beautiful story, Chance! Your father was one of the wisest people in the world. This is the lesson everyone should learn. Let’s all see beyond what we have now and be ready for bigger and more beautiful things to come!

    1. Chance

      Thanks so much, Anna-Emily. Yes, he was a treasure for me. I miss him every day… but he remains with me every day through lessons like these.



    1. Chance

      YES, do! Find your own way if this doesn’t work for you, but teach the lesson. It changed my life.

  3. julie diane

    ~a beautiful story Chance. I can see and truly feel there is so much more Life waiting for me, more love, more fulfillment! Amazing how we cling to the crumbs that we think are so certain… .

    1. Chance

      Amazing how we cling to the crumbs that we think are so certain… .

      Beautiful and true.

  4. Dee

    Love this Chance….what a beautiful and timely message. For me, right at this time, it is VERY meaningful. Knowing I need to take ‘baby steps’ right now, but knowing I must embrace change as well. In God’s time. You have the ability to reach people where they live…you have a gift and I’m so glad you are doing this!

    1. Chance

      I’m so very grateful it encouraged you in this very difficult time. We think of you daily, and pray for you often.

  5. D.A. Broughton

    Love the truth and the wisdom of this! Your father is a wise man, and you’ve built some solid application on top of it, as well.

    1. Chance

      Thanks so much for your insight.

  6. adam herod

    I was just telling my wife how good you were on the blog. This is is refreshing & real. Wow. Great story and lesson. Thanks for sharing your world with the rest of us, Chance.

    1. Chance

      Sincere thanks to you for joining me through reading it. I so appreciate the encouragement.

  7. Jeannie Androsoff

    Chance, just when I think you can’t amaze me anymore than you already have, you send out one like this. Thank you so much for following your heart and inspiring us all to do the same. Love you, my friend:)

    1. Chance

      You’re too kind. I’m so glad you liked this one – it’s a really special moment in my life.

  8. EJ Gaines

    Excellent illustration, Chance. What stood out to me was the word “nervous” in response to your father’s question: “how do you feel right now?”

    It makes me think of the many ways in which I’ve worked to get what I want, but been unable to actually enjoy it because of the pressure to keep it going.

    There’s great freedom in your words. Thanks for this!

    1. Chance

      That ‘nervous’ moment is something that I have never shaken. It says a lot about you that it stuck out to you… You and I are experiencing a lot of the same things. Hard to get the plates spinning – even harder to keep them spinning.

      Open hands.

  9. Jim Sterling

    There is so much more for each of us Chance, He’s infinite and eternal and putting what He has for us off one more minute just doesn’t make sense.

    1. Chance


  10. cameran

    what a great illustration, Chance. And, I imagine, a dear memory for you. That picture and message will stick with me, and with many others i’ll venture to guess. thanks for this :)

    1. Chance

      Yes, a very dear memory – one that shapes everything else for me… So glad it spoke to you.

  11. Rondi Abernathy

    I read your blog each and every week. I am amazed at how it feels you have crawled inside my brain and picked it for what is bothering me before you write each blog. I want to Thank You for sharing your thoughts. You have been blessed with a great gift to help people think outside the box. Thank you for sharing your gift. May God bless you!

    1. Chance

      Wow – thank you for your extremely kind words. And thank you so much for reading and supporting this blog. So grateful.

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